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Mix Margaret Dylan Jones

W.A. composer, pianist, teacher, article writer

Theory At The Keyboard

Music theory has you bushed, does it?

Confused already about tones, semitones, scales & chords, going to be... COMPLETELY confused soon if you don't get urgent help?

You've come to the right place. You've found a gifted and qualified teacher who is also a thoroughly-trained classical composer with quite a bit of experience in non-classical music.

Even if you've never touched a piano or electric keyboard I will sit you down in front of one at every lesson. If you don't already have some keyboard ability I'll include a beginner's course in piano playing, all integrated into the theory lessons.

It's so much easier to understand harmony and many other aspects of theory if you're sitting at a keyboard. Playing everything yourself makes it so much more 'alive' and real. You really don't want to learn sitting at a desk with pen and paper.

While I'm on the subject of pens & paper, you can learn all about scales, chords and harmony etc with notation, or without notation. That's your choice.

Develop your musical mind---for complete beginners to advanced.

I cover whatever you want, at your own pace, including:

    • Note names, tones & semitones, tetrachords, scales, keys
    • Intervals (diads), triads, extended chords (e.g. seventh chords), harmony
    • Inversions of intervals, inversions of chords
    • Use of chords, chordal progressions
    • Modulations (key changes of various kinds)
    • Musical form
    • Melodic analysis (a speciality of mine)
  • Time signatures, beats, rhythms, simple & compound time
  • Rhythm notation & rhythm learning systems

Ordinary theory lessons are dry and boring. You don't just want to know, you want to UNDERSTAND. My students walk out the door with their 'Ah ha!' moment still lifting them off the ground.

I love teaching theory and I love teaching keyboard harmony and keyboard skills. There was a period of many years when I didn't teach theory in ongoing lessons, and didn't teach theory for written exams. That's because the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) theory syllabus was completely changed. But I'm kind-of over that now, even though I don't like some aspects of the current syllabus.

Many years ago I was a theory exam marker for the AMEB, which gave me invaluable insight into how the papers are marked. Quite iluminating!

In 2011 I attended a workshop in how to use the AMEB's new online theory exams. It's a great idea. You pay the normal exam fee (same fee as for a paper exam), and they give you login details for their website. You can practice doing your exam as many times as you like online, 24/7, for a whole year. Every time you hit the 'new' button the system generates a completely new set of questions, and when you hit the 'finish' button you get the answers back in milliseconds. When you feel ready, you hit a different button to do your real exam. Again, you get the result immediately.

However, if you want to learn just for fun that's great, too. Or if you have another theory teacher who is preparing you for an exam, please feel free to contact me for extra coaching. You should still continue to have your usual lessons with your main teacher, but I can assist you with a completely different approach that you will really enjoy.

So if you want to quickly get an excellent understanding of all the concepts of musical theory, from someone with deep insight into how it all goes together to make music, give me a call.

Since May 2011 I've been living in the Perth hills, in the Shire of Mundaring, Western Australia. Click on the links to learn more or contact me by phone or email. My mobile phone is 0414 374 701 (new in Sept 2010).
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